I believe that Plains-wanderers, if they could understand the question
(given our human limitations in presenting such a question to a far more
sophisticated species than our own) and if we could understand and interpret
the philosophical thinking of Plains-wanderers, would greatly resent the
arrogance of our species suggesting that they should be "lumped" with any
other species or group of species and/or that they should be placed in some
arbitrary grouping devised by human beings for their own convenience given
they, the Plains-wanderers (if, indeed, that is what they call themselves),
have been spending an inordinate amount of time trying to make themselves
quite distinct from any other species that has, to our limited knowledge,
Just thought I would say that in response to these extracts from previous
postings (no names - no pack-drill):
"I just bought "Shorebirds of Australia", and was surprised to see that it
covers Plains-wanderer. I can understand their explanation that it's
related to other shorebirds, but if it doesn't look or act like one, why
"Not really - not all "waders" wade - some are much happier inland. Banded
Lapwings and Inland Dotterels are two examples that spring to mind that
rarely get their toes wet! The grouping into "families" is done on lots of
characteristics, not just the habitat and "Shorebirds" is generally taken to
mean a specific scientific group. One could argue that a Silver Gull is a
shorebird as you find it at the seaside, but it does not fit in the relevant
scientific group so I expect it will not be in your book."
"It makes more sense including them in this book, as they belong to a
family of birds referred to as "shorebirds" rather than having them
clumped with Button-quails as they were for so many years."
"Hmmm, I think it is logically questionable to use the term "belongs" when
you are referring to bird classifications. I think that Plains Wanderers
have a lot more in common with Button Quail than with Godwits and
Handbook of Birds of the World has them as a "Shorebird". Helm's Shorebirds"
of the World does not. Pizzey does, Clements 5th does. I think IOU and
Birdlife International do as well?"
"Well, what I mean is that being "lumped" with shorebirds is somewhat
different to "belongs" in the shorebirds group. I don't think that Plains
Wanderers would view themselves as shorebirds, if it were possible to ask
Please note: I am in no way intending to be critical of any of the
contributors to this topic. I neither definitely agree nor definitely
disagree with any of the
statements so far made.
I would dispute, though, the claim ".....and "Shorebirds" is generally taken
mean a specific scientific group". There is really nothing scientific about
groupings such as "shorebirds", "waders", "water birds", "sea birds".
The scientific group to which "shorebirds" have been assigned is the order
Charadriiformes however not all Charadriiformes are commonly referred to as
"shorebirds" and many Charadriiformes are definitely not "waders".
Plains-wanderers have been accepted in Australia as belonging in the order
Charadriiformes since at least 1994 (see The taxonomy and Species of Birds
of Australia and its Territories, Christidis and Bowles, RAOU Monograph 2,
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